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WHO, Nigeria Launch New Country Cooperation Strategy

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By Ndidi Chukwu

Nigeria has launched its third 5 year Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS III) to guide its work with the World Health Organisation from 2014 till 2019. CCSIII will help the country in strengthening its health system and scale up existing interventions that have helped record marked progress in the health sector—including interruption of wild poliovirus transmission, eradication of Guinea worm and the containment of Ebola epidemic last year.

The CCSIII is tailored according to Nigeria’s own National Strategic Health Development Plan. WHO country representative Rui Gama Vaz said, “WHO presence in all 36 + 1 states allows the organization to provide necessary technical support to all states ministries of health across the entire breadth of environments, populations, security challenges and health conditions that characterizes the Nigerian health care environment.”

The resurgence of the Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia, ‎has also renewed surveillance in Nigeria, in preparedness for any possible outbreak. In comments at the launch in Abuja, Ministry of Health permanent secretary Linus Awute said resurgence of Ebola in Liberia, which is reportedly linked to residents eating dog meat, was a reminder of the need to sustain surveillance and remain vigilant, which have both flagged since late last year after Ebola was contained.

“We want to reassure Nigerians that our containment strategies are still in place and we are working to build a resilience health system that can withstand any emergencies or outbreaks,” Awute said.

Regulations which helped Nigeria contain the outbreak of Ebola virus disease last October are being activated days after Liberia confirmed its third case of the virus that’s re-emerged nearly seven weeks after the World Health Organisation declared it Ebola free. Response teams under control of Port Health Services will watch ports of entry which have been classified according to need, said director of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Abdulsalami Nasidi. Temperature-reading cameras have been “positioned at all stops, and we are re-emphasizing the use of hand sanitizers and hand hygiene,” Nasidi added.

Bodies coming into the country or being moved within the country for burial will come under stricter control under the safe-burial guide.

“No burials will be allowed in Nigeria without actually confirming cause of death,” Nasidi said. “We are enforcing the regulation we used before to make sure we are not taken by surprise.”

“We are making sure that every response mechanism we used before is in place for any eventuality. This involves health promotion, health education, infection prevention and control, treatment and management, opening of treatment centres and triaging of all centres, and getting state governments to be on top of the situation.”

Also planned is a possible meeting of all health commissioners nationwide along with guilds representing both public and private hospitals to re-establish standing protocol for detecting and dealing with Ebola.

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